Taiwan tea exports to mainland China have increased significantly due to tariff concessions under the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation said Oct. 23.
Tea became tariff-free under ECFA’s early harvest list beginning this year, according to Ma Shaw-chang, SEF deputy secretary-general. “Approximately 2,314 metric tons were exported to mainland China in the first nine months, generating revenue of US$26.03 million. Compared to the same period in 2011, exports increased 16.32 percent.”
Ma noted that Taiwan tea faced a 15 percent tariff in 2010. “Exports of the product across the strait were about 623.85 metric tons that year, with an output value of US$6.27 million.”
In 2011, duties on Taiwan tea were reduced to 5 percent and exports to mainland China surged 395.92 percent year on year, reaching 2,797.33 metric tons and US$31.08 million in revenue, he added.
Separately, the SEF organized a delegation Oct. 23 to inspect the production of Oriental Beauty tea in northern Taiwan’s Miaoli County. A type of heavily fermented oolong that is not roasted, the tea is grown completely organically to allow tea green leafhoppers to bite the leaves, giving it a natural fruity aroma.
These special techniques mean that the tea, also known as white tip oolong and “peng feng,” or bluffing, tea, can only be produced in relatively small quantities.
“We hope to establish an agriculture traceability system for Oriental Beauty tea, as well as a mechanism for origin labeling,” the Miaoli County Government said, adding that it is mulling trademark registration in mainland China to expand business across the Taiwan Strait.